June 4, Verkhovna Rada did not approve the program of the new government. The document was sent for revision. For any Prime Minister of Ukraine, an unapproved program is a bad sign. Without it, he loses the right to his annual immunity. But not necessarily gets an exit ticket.
Coronavirus is to blame
The program of activities of the Cabinet of Ministers needs refinement since it was developed before the coronavirus pandemic and does not take into account the introduction of restrictive measures and economic losses, President Zelensky said during a trip to Khmelnytsky region.
“The government program was developed, but no one expected a coronavirus to appear. Therefore, he (PM) turned to people and said: we have a coronavirus, quarantine measures, and the government program should have changed because of Covid-19,” Zelensky stated.
In other words, the president supported the prime minister. Allegedly... They say that it’s okay, there is an algorithm of actions, it must be synchronized with the costs of the pandemic. However, Zelensky also supported ex-Prime Minister Honcharuk when a scandal with films surfaced, that is, records on which the former head of government spoke about the president by no means complimentary. Very soon after demonstrative support, they forced Honcharuk to resign.
In order to be replaced at the post, the Prime Minister of Ukraine must: a) die or b) cause dissatisfaction with the president, who will "push" the Rada, and the Rada will vote for the "distrust." Although under President Zelensky a third method was invented: pressure on an undesirable person.
As political scientist Kyrylo Sazonov rightly observes, the annual immunity did not help Shmygal’s predecessor Honcharuk - he was forced to resign even though his government program was adopted.
That is, the activity program itself is not yet a panacea. We have four options for holding back the resignation of the current head of government.
The first version. Just a bad job
Sazonov tells us that Shmygal’s work is not good enough. “The program is really incomplete. It can be bureaucratic, boring, but it must be clear,” the expert is convinced. “If the government is unable to work, it leaves. But the decision will be up to the Verkhovna Rada, and it will be guided by the position of the president,” Sazonov adds.
“And yet Shmygal is a stronger prime minister than Honcharuk,” Sazonov said. “Because when Honcharuk took office, he managed to kill an economy that was growing fast enough. If I’m not mistaken, we had about 4.6% growth.”
The second version. Parliament’s position
“The parliament did not vote for the program because it does not want to share its responsibility with the government and intentionally keeps it suspended so that it can be dismissed at any time. Although a government without a program is, of course, nonsense,” -director of the Ukrainian Institute for Analysis and Policy Management Ruslan Bortnyk notes.
He says that without synergy with the government, parliament “will work in manual mode, and there will be no talk of fulfilling any tactical or strategic tasks at all.” Why does parliament need this?
Chairman of the Servant of the People faction Davyd Arakhamia reassures: Shmygal’s resignation should not be expected. “Shmygal works in terms of a crisis situation,” he notes.
But Andriy Zolotariov, the head of the Third Sector Center, points to one eloquent detail: the government’s program of action didn’t fail to pass the furnace of the profile committee of Verkhovna Rada, controlled by the mono-majority. “That is, the MPs were waiting for a signal from the President’s Office, and since the president did not put pressure on them, it was obvious that she did not find support from him. And without the program, the government is a lame duck,” Zolotariov notes.
The third version. Everything depends on the elections
Actually, the third version is a subspecies of the second. Andriy Zolotariov suggests that everything will be decided in the fall, that is, after the local elections, scheduled for October, as well as at the end of the fiscal year, when it becomes clear with what budget deficit we are ending it.
“The prime minister’s resignation might take place in the fall, then we will get all the consequences of the crisis. Then the search for the scapegoat will begin. The oligarchs will be happy to hang a negative on Zelensky, and Zelensky, if he is not going to commit political suicide, will look for someone to turn to this negative,” he says.
Experts are generally unanimous that shuffling the personnel deck is a kind of sublimation for Zelensky. He has no other solutions, as soon as he engage in demonstration layoffs. And Shmygal, undoubtedly, is also in the queue of potential unemployed. And they put him there already on the day of the appointment.
The fourth version. Akhmetov's factor
“Shmygal has no support among the MPs that he could hope for. There is a polarization of influence groups within the Servant of the People, and each of these groups wants its aspirations to be realized in the Cabinet. And the Cabinet so far defends the interests of only “Akhmetov’s group of influence,” which is not even represented in parliament,” Bogdan Petrenko, deputy director of the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of Extremism, is convinced.
What does Akhmetov have to do with it? “Thanks to the activities of this government, for some reason we began to stop nuclear plants that produce cheaper energy in order for energy to be generated by the network of thermal power plants and thermal power plants, which belongs to Akhmetov,” Petrenko explains.
Three blocks with a capacity of 3,000 MW were actually stopped in the country, and production at five more power units of operating nuclear power plants was reduced. The reasons for this decision are a surplus of electricity generated by nuclear power plants, and the transition to more environmentally friendly options - the so-called "green" energy.
Who is next?
We tried to find out who will replace Shmygal if he is forced to resign. However, no one risks making specific assumptions. “Given the identities of Honcharuk and Shmygal, the next prime minister might be any. In particular, some very little-known figure. But if the crisis deepens, we can expect the return of one or another heavyweight,” says Ruslan Bortnyk.
Interestingly, no one sees Mikheil Saakashvili as the new prime minister. And he, undoubtedly, has corresponding ambitions. But before receiving a real mace, it is played by a puppet, that is, it develops a little shadow Cabinet.